Burwell fire station theft leaves engine stranded for Newmarket blaze
A fire service has criticised thieves who broke in to a station, leaving its engine unable to go to a house blaze.
Burglars stole vital cutting equipment at Burwell, Cambridgeshire, on Sunday.
Cambridgeshire fire service said the police investigation at the site meant its engine was out of action when a 999 call came from Newmarket, so another crew had to be sought.
Chief fire officer Chris Strickland said "every second counts" when responding to an incident.
He said the building was damaged and cutting gear used in road traffic collisions and rescues was taken in the raid on Sunday night.
"How anyone can steal life-saving equipment from an emergency service is just beyond me," said Mr Strickland.
"Luckily everyone was out of the house safely at the incident in Newmarket and we were able to send a crew from Soham to support Newmarket who responded quickly.
"Had there been an incident more locally, the delay in responding could have been much more significant."
An investigation by Cambridgeshire Police continues.